First County 165

Throwback Thursday: Generosity Foils Stamford Grinches 1987

Holiday-Gift-Box-TealIn December 1987, Judith Moriarty, the coordinator for the Shelter Support Service of Gateway Communities Inc. a private, nonprofit community mental health agency in Stamford, arrived at her car to find a horrible surprise. Her car had been broken into and $400 worth of presents for Stamford’s homeless had been stolen.

Judith vowed that she would replace the presents by the time they were scheduled to be distributed, just six days later. The community rallied behind her efforts to replace the presents and in the end, ten times the original number of gifts were donated. Specifically, Stamford Savings Bank employees donated $500 of their own money so that the less fortunate would have a better holiday.

Today, the tradition of employee involvement and volunteerism continues through fundraisers and other community activities.

2016 is a big year for First County Bank as we celebrate not only our 165th anniversary, but also the 15th anniversary of the First County Bank Foundation. To mark these major milestones we will be digging into the archives, sharing some notable moments from our history on our blog and social media channels every other Thursday. You can follow along, or share your own memories of First County Bank history, by leaving a comment or posting a memory using #FirstCounty165.

First County Bank Foundation

First County Bank Foundation Grants over $530,000 to Nonprofits

15TH-ANNIVERSARYFirst County Bank Foundation recently celebrated its 15th Anniversary of Mutual Partnerships at The Loading Dock in Stamford. First County Bank Foundation announced its 2016 Standard Grant awards to 89 local nonprofit groups. In addition, the Foundation awards CommunityFirst grants throughout the year and launched the new FirstClass Grant Program for K-6 teachers in 2016. These nonprofits, many of which were in attendance, received over $530,000 in grants from the First County Bank Foundation to support their mission to provide needed services in local communities.

First County Bank Foundation’s Annual Celebration of Mutual Partnerships is an opportunity for nonprofit organizations to network and celebrate successes and share insights. The Foundation’s support of the local community provides a great source of pride for employees and Board of Directors.

“First County Bank Foundation is proud to celebrate our 15th Anniversary of supporting community-based nonprofit organizations,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Bank Foundation. “The Foundation is the cornerstone of everything the Bank does, and it’s rewarding to be part of an organization which works together with these organizations to ensure basic needs are met.”

Since its inception in 2001, the First County Bank Foundation has awarded individual grants totaling over $7.5 million. The following local nonprofit organizations received First County Bank Foundation Standard Grants in 2016:

Organization Amount For
Abilis, Inc. $5,000 Assistance to adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families
AmeriCares Free
Clinics (See HomeFront)
$3,500 The Bob Macauley AmeriCares Free Clinic of Norwalk. Provide free quality healthcare to low income, uninsured residents of Greater Norwalk.
ARI of Connecticut Inc. $7,500 Individualized Home Supports
Arts for Healing $2,500 For music and creative arts therapy programs for people with special needs
At Home in Darien $2,500 To increase transportation services for seniors
Ballet School of Stamford $2,500 To help develop ballet programs
Bartlett Arboretum & Garden Centers $5,000 To preserve the natural environment
Boys and Girls Club of Stamford, Inc. $10,000 Summer Fun Camp – seven week program. 400 youth.
Center for
S
exual/Assault Crisis Counseling and
Education, The
$5,000 Provides sexual assault crisis counseling, advocacy and education (Children/ Families)
Child Guidance Center of Mid-Fairfield County $5,000 To improve the mental and behavioral health of children and teens through treatment, education, and community support
Child Guidance Center of Southern Connecticut, Inc. $10,000 Emergency mobile psychiatric Services
Childcare Learning Centers $15,000 Teacher Education
Circle of Care $2,500 Provides support to children with cancer and their families at the initial time of hospitalization
Community Fund of Darien, The $2,500 Supporting local programs
Community Fund of New Canaan, The $2,500 Supporting local programs
Community Plates $5,000 Hunger relief – Direct transfer food rescue
Courage to Speak Foundation, The $5,000 To help fund the process of updating the teaching materials for the Courage to Speak drug prevention education program
Domestic Violence Center $5,000 offers legal, children, housing and advocacy services to victims of domestic violence
DOMUS $10,000 Serves middle school students attending their Trailblazers Academy before and after school programs as well as over the summer and other school breaks
Earthplace, The Discovery Nature Center $2,500 For the natural history museum, wildlife rehabilitation program, water quality laboratory, after school and summer camp programs
ElderHouse, Inc. $5,000 Adult Day Program
Exchange Club Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse of Southern CT, Inc., The $10,000 Crisis Parent Aide general operating fund
Fairfield County Hospice House Inc. $10,000 Ambassador Program. Educate the community about end of life choices and the benefits of hospice care and a hospice house.
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation $3,000 Center for Non-Profit Excellence
Family & Children’s Agency, Inc. $15,000 FCA integrates services during Pregnancy and follow a vulnerable family until a child turns 8 years old
Ferguson Library, The $10,000 Expand the technology, tools and training available to entrepreneurs in our community through the creation of a Maker Space in the Adult Services Department.
Fraternal Order of the Umbrella, Inc. $2,500 To support charitable services
Future Five $6,000 General Operating Support
George Washington Carver Foundation of Norwalk $5,000 Youth Development Program – emphasis on K-12 after school activities to encourage on-time high school graduation and college readiness
Getabout $5,000 To support Senior transportation program
Greenwich Alliance for Education $5,000 Going Places with Books program
Hill House $6,500 For elderly low-moderate income housing
Homefront $5,000 Lower Fairfield County Housing Revitalization
Homes with Hope, Inc. $10,000 For emergency shelter for homeless mothers and their children
Housing Development Fund, Inc. $10,000 First time homebuyer program
Human Services Council $10,000 Norwalk Mentor Program
Inspiricia, Inc. $10,000 General Operations
Jewish Family Services of Greenwich $4,000 Super-marketing for seniors
Jewish Senior Services $2,500 Provides residential and community health care services for seniors
Keystone House, Inc. $5,000 Supported Apartment Services “Home Sweet Home”
Kids Helping Kids $2,500 Allows kids to discover their individual interests while working in groups to fulfill many local and global community needs
Kids in Crisis $10,000 For children’s shelter program
Laurel House, Inc. $7,500 For Resource Center operations
Liberation Programs, Inc. $5,000 Families in Recovery program
Meals on Wheels $2,500 To support meals to the elderly and home-bound
Mill River Collaborative $15,000 To support the Mill River Collaborative programs
Neighbor to Neighbor $2,500 Supplemental food program
Neighbors Link Stamford, Corp. $3,000 Expanding economic opportunities by supporting CT residents
New Canaan Mounted Troop, Inc. $2,500 Therapeutic riding and horsemanship program for people with special needs
New Covenant House of Hospitality $7,500 Food Pantry
New Neighborhoods Inc. $10,000 Tenant Advocate Program
Norwalk Community College Foundation $10,000 ESL – Bridge to Credit Tutoring Program
Norwalk Grassroots Tennis and Education $2,500 To teach a lifelong sport, sportsmanship and provide tutoring to student athletes
Norwalk Hospital Foundation $5,000 Project LEAN
Norwalk Mayor’s Student Engineering and Science Program $5,000 To support engineering and science learning in Norwalk schools
Norwalk Mayor’s Summer Youth Employment Program $5,000 Summer youth employment program
Norwalk Senior Center, Inc. $2,500 Meals on Wheels
Open Door Shelter, The $5,000 Family and Children’s services
Person To Person $7,500 Emergency Assistance Program to provide a safety net and emergency financial assistance to low income individuals
Positive Directions $5,000 For adolescent behavioral health treatment program
Project Return $2,500 For the HEAL Program providing young women in crisis a nurturing environment to heal
Regional Hospice and Home Care $3,000 Provides hospice service, palliative care and bereavement counseling for local patients and families
River House Adult Day Center $2,500 For senior daycare programs
Saint Joseph Parenting Center $5,000 For a 28 Week Parenting Program – Spanish
Salvation Army, The $5,000 Back to School Event Program (Back Packs and Supplies)
Shelter for the Homeless $10,000 Homeless shelter
Side By Side Charter School $1,500 Emphasizes diversity and active/equal involvement of parents, teachers, and students in our day-to-day operations
Silvermine Arts Center $3,500 Supporting the Art Partners outreach program to under-resourced schools
SilverSource $10,000 Ride to wellness – medical transportation for seniors
SoundWaters, Inc. $5,000 Camp Scholarships
Stamford Center for the Arts $5,000 Triple Threat Performer Intensive arts Education Program
Stamford Emergency Medical Services, Inc. $11,765 For CPR training mannequins
Stamford Jewish Community Center (Stamford JCC) $7,500 Hand in Hand Summer Camp Program. Social skills development. 3rd – 8th graders with a variety of challenges.
Stamford Public Education Foundation $3,500 Continued support of mentoring efforts in the Stamford Public Schools and the purchase of a new phone system.
Stamford Senior Center $3,000 To provide seniors opportunities to stay active and healthy
STAR, Inc. $3,500 Early intervention services for infants and toddlers with developmental disabilities and support services. Birth to Three.
Starfish Connection $4,000 Youth Enrichment Program
Tiny Miracles Foundation, The $5,000 Financial aid to parents of premature babies
United Way of Coastal CT – Norwalk $5,000 For various community programs
United Way of Coastal Connecticut – Westport $2,500 For local programs
United Way of Greenwich, CT $2,500 For various programs
United Way of Western CT- Stamford $10,000 Community programs
Waveny Life Care Network $5,000 For elder care programs
Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service $2,500 Volunteer EMS and ambulance services
Women’s Business Development Council $7,500 To empower women and men to thrive in their place of work out on their own as an entrepreneur
Women’s Mentoring Network, Inc. $3,500 Services include employment training, on the job counseling, adult education, life skills workshops and scholarship assistance for training or school.
WorkPlace, The $2,500 To develop a well-educated, well-trained and self-sufficient workforce through a coordinated system of education, training and employment
YMCA of Greenwich $2,500 Nutritious snack program to enhance development and education for children’s programs
YWCA Greenwich $2,500 Domestic abuse services and emergency shelter program

 

Trends & Tips

Cybersecurity Trending for 2017

SoftwareUpdateAs we approach the New Year a hot topic across all industries is: What will be trending in 2017? For all “Snapchatters” and “Facebookers,” no worries here as it seems that these two social media platforms will continue to expand come 2017. However, one area many do not like to discuss is the area of cybersecurity. In the past few years cybersecurity has gained more attention and increased importance as online activity grows. In 2017, cybersecurity will be a trending topic for discussion.

In a recent Forbes Article, the Society of Information Management (SIM) released their 2017 trend analysis. In this analysis, cybersecurity was ranked as the second most important trend/topic heading into the New Year. According to the article, “36% of IT leaders noted [cyber] security as their top concern. Remarkably, just four years ago, [cyber] security was listed as the ninth area of concern.” How exactly can you increase your cybersecurity efforts? Here are some tips from our Customer Resources Center:

  1. Digital Wallet Security – Mobile technology is changing the way we think of our wallet. We all take necessary precaution when it comes to the safety/security of our physical wallet, but are we doing the same with our digital wallet?
  2. Online Banking Awareness – Online Banking is a convenient way to manage your account. Part of this management requires managing the security of your account. Be sure to use trusted Wi-Fi networks, keep your browser up-to-date, and use strong passwords.
  3. Ransomware – Ransomware is malicious software that can infect a victim’s computer, preventing the victim from using their PC. An easy way to defend against ransomware is by using antivirus software and only downloading software from familiar and trusted sites.

These tips are just a few of many cybersecurity subjects we cover in our Customer Resources Center. To learn more on a specific topic or to view our full list of cybersecurity subjects, click any of the hyperlinks above. Or to read the full Forbes article, click here.

Bank News

Hugo Ramirez joins First County Bank as Assistant Vice President, Branch Manager

Hugo_Ramirez_FirstCountyBank 1First County Bank is pleased to announce the recent addition of Hugo Ramirez who joins the Bank’s Retail Banking Division as assistant vice president, branch manager of the 660 Main Street, Norwalk, CT branch.

“Hugo has over 15 years of retail banking experience with numerous awards. He will manage the customer relations and new business development for his branch as well as manage the branch operations.” said Reyno Giallongo, First County Bank’s chairman and CEO. “We continually look to enhance our team by recruiting talented bankers.”

As assistant vice president, branch manager, Hugo is responsible for managing branch customer service performance and cultivating relationships with community, industry and professional contacts. He is committed to helping customers and businesses select the best banking solution to achieve their goals.

Prior to joining First County Bank, Ramirez was with Patriot Bank, serving as a regional vice president. Ramirez has won numerous sales awards over the years for his outstanding sales performance in retail, wealth management, small business, cash management and insurance products.

Hugo is a resident of Stamford, CT and when not working, he enjoys time spent with his son and family. He is an active member in the community with the Chamber of Commerce in Stamford, CT, Scarsdale and Bedford, NY. Ramirez is fluent in English and Spanish.

Lifestyle Trends & Tips

Cold Weather Travel & Safety Tips

FC_BlogImageCold Weather Travel & Safety Tips

The holiday season brings a host of emotions and experiences often involving friends and family. One caveat of creating these holiday memories with friends and family can be harsh traveling conditions. With parts of Connecticut already receiving substantial amounts of snow, it seems we will experience yet another New England winter. Whether you have winter travel plans to see friends, family or to go to work, here are some cold weather travel and safety tips:

  • Start off with the basics by making sure your vehicle is safe before traveling – this means checking your tire pressure and tread as well as making sure all headlights, directional lights, and emergency lights are working before traveling in wintry conditions.
  • When traveling do your best to stay on roads that are well plowed and flat – stick to main roads and highways and avoid hills and slopes. Give yourself extra time to travel on these roads even if they may be a little heavier with traffic.
  • Keep an extra layer of clothing, a couple of blankets and bottled water in your car for worst case scenarios. If you become stranded you will benefit from the ability to stay warm and hydrated.
  • Let friends or family know where you’re headed! This may seem simple but letting someone know when you’re traveling is a simple way to stay safe.
  • In the scenario you become stranded in your car – remember to use your hazard lights; if you’re running your engine to stay warm, keep a window slightly open to avoid carbon monoxide build-up; remove snow build-up around the vehicles exhaust pipe; and if you end up spending a night in your car, keep an interior overhead light on so you can be visible to overnight rescue crews.

Enjoy your holiday season with friends and family, and be safe when traveling. To read the full article visit, The Weather Channel.

In Our Community

Fairfield University & First County Bank, National Finalists

Fairfield_ShieldStudents from Fairfield University wanted to enter the Conference of State Bank Supervisor’s (CSBS) Community Bank Case Study Competition. So, in early 2016, they approached First County Bank to participate as their primary case study for the competition. Their request was simple, to work with First County Bank as their major corporate entry and to tell the Bank’s story from a performance and managerial perspective. The Bank was more than willing to help these students as were some First County Bank customers. We are proud to announce that these Fairfield University students were not only named as a finalist in this national collegiate competition, but they excelled in portraying the culture of the Bank and our community focus.

To view the video, click here.

First County Bank Foundation

First County Bank Foundation Grants $21,000 to New Canaan Nonprofits

Sara Tucker, Nicole Konaman, Stacy Gendels and Caroleigh Evarts of New Canaan Mounted Troop were presented with a $2,500 grant from First County Bank Foundation by David VanBuskirk, AVP, Business Banking at First County Bank. New Canaan Mounted Troop provides equestrian therapeutic programs for youth with special needs.

Sara Tucker, Nicole Konaman, Stacy Gendels and Caroleigh Evarts of New Canaan Mounted Troop were presented with a $2,500 grant from First County Bank Foundation by David VanBuskirk, assistant vice president, business banking at First County Bank. New Canaan Mounted Troop provides equestrian therapeutic programs for youth with special needs.

We are pleased to announce that the First County Bank Foundation has recently awarded six New Canaan-based nonprofit groups a total of $21,000 in grants to support these organizations with their mission to provide needed services in local communities. First County Bank Foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has awarded individual grants worth over $7.5 million since its inception in 2001.

“First County Bank Foundation is celebrating its 15th Anniversary of supporting community-based charitable organizations which provide essential services to improve the lives of people in the local communities they serve,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Bank Foundation. “It’s exciting to be part of an organization which works together with these charities to ensure basic needs are met.”

First County Bank Foundation granted Waveny Life Care Network $5,000 for their elder care programs and $5,000 to Getabout, for their senior rides program. In addition, First County Bank Foundation granted $2,500 to The Community Fund of New Canaan for their local programs, $2,500 to New Canaan Mounted Troop, Inc., for their therapeutic riding and horsemanship program for people with special needs, $3,500 to Silvermine Arts Center for their Art Partners outreach program to under-resourced schools and $2,500 to Arts for Healing for music and creative arts therapy programs for people with special needs.

First County 165

Throwback Thursday: Bank Technology in 1912 – Catches Fraud

Even back in 1891, when we were the Stamford Savings Bank, we were using “high tech” to prevent financial fraud. At that time, the Secretary/Treasurer, J. Howard Bogardus recommended Stamford Savings Bank purchase “card ledgers,” a new technology to track depositor transactions. This purchase paid dividends in 1912 when this technology caught fraudulent activity.

The investigator found the perpetrator used his “ill-gotten gains” to bet on the ponies (horse racing). The “Betting Commissioners” (people who took bets or “bookies”) were said to be “blue over the prospect of losing one of their best customers.” In the New York Times article from April 11, 1912, the subhead stated “His Aged Mother Not Told” – we still wonder if she ever found out what her son was up to.

While new threats including cybercrime and identity theft are discovered regularly, our commitment for ensuring the safety and security of our customers’ finances continues to remain our top priority. For detailed information on how to protect yourself from cybercrime, identify theft and other financial fraud, please go to “Customer Resources” on the First County Bank home page and visit Fraud Prevention Tools or go to firstcountybank.com/efraud-protection. The eFraud Prevention area includes information on how to prevent fraud as well as what to do if you are a victim. Also included are interactive games and educational tools to help you become more aware of how you can prevent fraud.

2016 is a big year for First County Bank as we celebrate not only our 165th anniversary, but also the 15th anniversary of the First County Bank Foundation. To mark these major milestones we will be digging into the archives, sharing some notable moments from our history on our blog and social media channels every other Thursday. You can follow along, or share your own memories of First County Bank history, by leaving a comment or posting a memory using #FirstCounty165.

First County Bank Foundation

First County Bank Foundation Grants $45,500 to Greenwich Nonprofits

We are pleased to announce that the First County Bank Foundation has recently awarded 11 Greenwich-based nonprofit groups a total of $45,500 in grants to support these organizations with their mission to provide needed services in local communities. First County Bank Foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has awarded individual grants worth over $7.5 million since its inception in 2001.

“First County Bank Foundation is celebrating its 15th Anniversary of supporting community-based charitable organizations which provide essential services to improve the lives of people in the local communities they serve,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Bank Foundation. “It’s exciting to be part of an organization which works together with these charities to ensure basic needs are met.”

The following 11 Greenwich-based nonprofit organizations received First County Bank Foundation grants in 2015:

Kids in Crisis $10,000 For children’s shelter program
River House Adult Day Center $2,500 For senior daycare programs
Hill House $6,500 For elderly low-moderate income housing
Greenwich Alliance for Education $5,000 Going Places with Books program
Jewish Family Services of Greenwich $4,000 Super-marketing for seniors
Neighbor to Neighbor $2,500 Supplemental food program
United Way of Greenwich, CT $2,500 For various programs
YMCA of Greenwich $2,500 Nutritious snack program to enhance development and education for children’s programs
YWCA Greenwich $2,500 Domestic abuse services and emergency shelter program
Abilis, Inc. $5,000 Assistance to adults and children with developmental disabilities and their families
Meals on Wheels $2,500 To support meals to the elderly and home-bound
 Jagjiwan Singh, Assistant Vice President Business Banking of First County Bank presents a $10,000 grant from First County Bank Foundation to Alon Marom, director of development, Corporate & Community Giving, for Kids in Crisis. This grant helps fund Safe Haven for Kids shelter program.

Jagjiwan Singh, assistant vice president business banking of First County Bank presents a $10,000 grant from First County Bank Foundation to Alon Marom, director of development, corporate & community giving, for Kids in Crisis. This grant helps fund Safe Haven for Kids shelter program.

First County Bank Foundation

First County Bank Foundation Grants $17,500 to Darien Nonprofits

First County Bank Foundation supports Person-to-Person with a $7,000 donation in their efforts to provide emergency assistance to community members in need. Pictured (left to right): Marianne Delaney, director of development, Person-to-Person, Ceci Maher, executive director, Person-to-Person, Aitza Cabrera, branch manager, First County Bank and John "Jack" Dowling, VP, commercial banker, First County Bank.

First County Bank Foundation supports Person-to-Person with a $7,000 donation in their efforts to provide emergency assistance to community members in need. Pictured (left to right): Marianne Delaney, director of development, Person-to-Person; Ceci Maher, executive director, Person-to-Person; Aitza Cabrera, branch manager, First County Bank; and John “Jack” Dowling, Vice President, commercial banker, First County Bank.

We are pleased to announce that the First County Bank Foundation has recently awarded four Darien-based nonprofit groups a total of $17,500 in grants to support these organizations with their mission to provide needed services in local communities. First County Bank Foundation is celebrating its 15th anniversary and has awarded individual grants worth over $7.5 million since its inception in 2001.

“First County Bank Foundation is celebrating its 15th Anniversary of supporting community-based charitable organizations which provide essential services to improve the lives of people in the local communities they serve,” said Reyno A. Giallongo, Jr., president of First County Bank Foundation. “It’s exciting to be part of an organization which works together with these charities to ensure basic needs are met.”

First County Bank Foundation granted The Community Fund of Darien $2,500 for local programs, At Home in Darien $2,500 to increase transportation services for seniors, Person to Person $7,500 for their Emergency Assistance Program to provide a safety net and emergency financial assistance to low income individuals and The Tiny Miracles Foundation $5,000 for financial aid to parents of premature babies.